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Scribble

at Assembly Roxy

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New writing about mental health and supernovas fails to provoke further debate

Image of Scribble

Winner of the 2017 Assembly Roxy Theatre Award (the ART Award), Scribble is a piece of new writing about mental health and supernovas from Andy Edwards, directed by Amy Gilmartin.

The character Ross is studying for a PhD in cosmology. He’s interested in science, the universe and how stuff works. Bran flakes, anxiety and gravity. The smallest moments in history. The largest events in the universe. Ross is in his local supermarket aisle. Rooted to the spot, he stares at the choice of bran flakes. A pair of yellow shoes pass him by and his mind jumps to his girlfriend, the stone he is holding and the characteristics of stars.

Based on experiences both real and imagined, Scribble is supposedly an exploration of the complexity of obsession and compulsion and bran flakes. “Although,” we are told, “it’s not a play about cereal.”

A two-hander, the majority of the play is a series of confused monologues from Ross, which fail to link cohesively to provide any real dialogue on the subject of mental health.

Another actor supports from an on-stage desk, with an angle poise lamp. Played by a different actor at each performance, reading out loud a series of letters and from a script for the very first time, they are also invited to share simultaneously in the ritual of eating a bowl of Bran Flakes with Ross. It’s his seventh bowl this Fringe, we are told. Who cares?

This whole interaction is superfluous and fails in its task to supposedly represent the changing nature of individual mental health or the range of people affected by mental health problems, adding nothing of any note to the debate.

As a piece Scribble is never finished, because the treatment of mental health is a continual, ongoing process. This piece might be on draft 49, but I’m not sure it’s even got the beginnings of something worthy to provoke further debate. Crude in its delivery, the writing unfortunately lacks focus and a clear argument, leaving you wondering what the point of the play actually is.

For the writer’s own perspective, read our interview with Andy Edwards here